The main duty of both the county attorney and the district attorney is to represent the state in criminal cases. Both work with law enforcement officers in the investigation and preparation of cases to be heard before the criminal courts.
Typically, the county attorney represents the state in misdemeanor criminal cases and the district attorney represents the state in felony cases. These public prosecutors determine whether prosecution in any given case should be instituted and, if instituted, pushed to a successful conclusion.
Some counties do not have both a county attorney and a district attorney. These counties have either a criminal district attorney or a combination county and district attorney. In these counties, one individual performs the functions of both the county attorney and the district attorney.
As with all elected county officials, the district attorney has ultimate authority over the operations of the office, including the authority to hire and fire personnel and direct their daily activities. The district attorney also has authority to determine how to use all other resources allocated to the office during the budget process.